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This year we do a tour through the Netherlands. We use a new system that has great popularity in the Netherlands called; the Knooppuntensystem. (Connection system for cyclists)
Target: Cycling as much as possible through the countryside, on asphalt and dirt roads, far away from motorized traffic.
Something about the "Knooppuntensystem":
It is a network of cycle routes spanning the entire Netherlands, where two or more bicycle paths cross; there is a "connection point" with a number and a map of this area showing distances in kilometres.
Signs indicate the direction, for example, left number 28, straight 33, and right, 24th
The Dutch ANWB (AA) published a book named "Fietsatlas" 1: 100,000 in the format of 14.8 x 21 cm, where all numbers are recorded. ISBN 9789018032593 23
One can write down all the numbers of the desired route to make sure to cycle on bike paths and dirt roads away from car traffic.

"Fietsatlas" of the Duch ANWB (AA)

So you can find your route

At each connection a map

Tuesday, 9 August 2011 Oss - Zeist
Km 78.08
(Nieuwe Schans, Tiel, Wijk bij Duurstede, Doorn, Austerlitz, Zeist)

Ship only for pedestrians and cyclists. The Waal near Tiel

Bridge over Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal at Wijk bij Duurstede

 

Ready for departure

 

We will stick as much as possible to the "Connection system".
When leaving, the sky is overcast but beautiful bike weather.
Through the whole city of Oss, our starting point runs a cycling-road with red asphalt and bike symbols. Cars can drive on it but have no precedence. Therefore, we make good progress through the city: Reaching the suburbs, we see the first sign with the right number.
After about 10 km we get to the Meuse River at Oijen/Nieuwe Schans. A ferry takes us to the other side. After another 10 km we are faced with the second river near Tiel. This time we cross the Waal with a speedboat just for pedestrians and cyclists. The river from the Dutch border on, changes its name from Rhine into Waal.
After another 10 km we reach the River Nederrijn. Here the ferry takes us to Wijk bij Duurstede. This is the last river from the Rhine delta to cross.
In the meantime it is 2 pm and we get hungry.
In the main street we pass a fish shop. From afar we smell the scent of baked fish. They offer a large assortment.
After 5 minutes we enjoy our fried fish on a small table.
We look at the town, take a few photos and then we head towards Utrechtse Heuvelrug. We leave the pasture landscape and come to an area consisting of forest and heath.
At Austerlitz, we lose our numbered way due to a diversion of the route, but there are other signs for cyclists, the so-called "paddenstoelen" sign, which, since I was a child, is showing the cyclist the right way.
Just before the city of Zeist I turn on my GPS which brings us safely to our pre booked accommodation address at
Vrienden op de fiets

Bourgeoisie tower of "slot Duurstede"

With the ferry crossing the "Lower Rhine"

Runmolenpoort 1659 (at the same time street)

The "Grote Kerk aan de Markt" Wijk bij Duurstede

House with thatched roof

Click to view image

Wednesday 10 August 2011 Zeist - Blarikum
Km = 63.25 Total 141.33
(Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Amersfoort Spakenburg, Huizen, Blaricum)

Through forest and heath

direction Amersfoort

The heather blooms

<OLV spire in Amersfoort

The night was good in a very quiet area and we slept like a log.
When starting, the sun was at its best. We ride through forests and heath land on nature trails. There are still a few puddles on the dirt road, we must be careful because they are slippery.
Around noon we reach Amersfoort with its 98 meter high spire.
The center has a medieval character with beautiful facades.
From Amersfoort we cycle North through the famous Dutch landscapes with meadows, canals and cows.
The nearest major town is Spakenburg, formerly a fishing village. By the draining of Flevoland, it has been deprived of its existence. The fisherman had to look after a new occupation.
Only once we cross a river by ferry, this time over the Eem at Eemdijk. Here we make a coffee break.
Via Eemnes we go further North and are soon in Huizen, a larger city. After dinner, we continue with the help of my GPS to the pre-ordered overnight address.

Many bike paths have red tarmac ^

Stair facade in the center of Amersfoort >

Land of milk and honey for ducks

Well-tended gardens ^

Funny bench here in Spakenburg >

In earlier times clogs where kept this way outside the house.

These people take pleasure in buxus plants

Traditional costumes of Spakenburg >

Bike path lined with willow trees

Thursday 11 August Blaricum - Volendam
Km = 73.55 Total 214.88
(Naarden, Muiden, Durgerdam, Peninsula Marken, Monnickendam, Volendam.)

Farewell to our host

House facade in Naarden >

Old town of Naarden is surrounded by a moat and defensive walls

Everyone has his own boat

The Arsenal is now a restaurant

Dike, bike path and deeper-lying land

The Overnight address is in an exclusive residential neighborhood. Early morning we are woken by singing birds.
We ride about 10 km through heath and forest until shortly before Naarden. The Original Naarden is surrounded by a wide moat and defensive walls, a bastion of the middle Ages. A bird's eye view would show a star-shaped city. We cycle over a bridge into the city and, as expected, it looks a little bit of Medieval. However, the former armory is now converted into a restaurant.
Over the West Bridge we leave the Old City.
On our way we come along the castle
Muiderschlot dated from the year1285
Just before the river Vecht flows into Ijsea we cross three adjacent locks.
To get further west from Amsterdam to the north side of the River Ij, which flows through Amsterdam, we must cross lots of bridges, Amsterdam is surrounded by water.

Muider Castle

Ships are ubiquitous in Holland >

This wall was built as water protection ?

Three locks in the Vecht at Muiden

To read click on the image >

Houses, dikes and Ijmeer

On the North side of Amsterdam we cycle on dikes, along the shore of Ijsea.
The wind is increasing tremendously, but luckily it comes from behind. We are literally blown to the peninsula of Marken. This village is decked out fine and there are tourists in droves.
There are two ways to get to Volendam: Either taking a boat for about 10 Km or back over the dike against a headwind. We choose the latter because otherwise we would miss Monnickendam where we haven't been before. Shortly before Monnickendam suddenly it begins to rain and a bus stop rescues us from a cold shower. Here we can calmly put on our gaiter and cape and continue through the rain to the town of Monnickendam. We find a restaurant with home-baked pastries. Here is good to wait until the coarsest rain has fallen.
To Volendam, we take the shortest route to our night stay. With such a strong tail wind we arrive there very fast.

This dyke makes island Marken to a peninsula

Traditional houses on the peninsula Marken

Penisula Marken

A few pictures of the peninsula Marken

 

Friday 12 August Volendam - Heemskerk
Km = 55.52 Total 270.4
(Edam, Beemster, De Rijp, Akersloot, Castricum, Heemskerk)

A few pictures of Volendam

Canals with a lot of duckweed and bridges

and bridges to raise in Volendam

Edam has also its canals

The carillon was built in 1561

< In Edam the bells are on the outside of the tower

It rained all night long until first hours of the day.
We do sightseeing by bike and following the cycle path to Edam, the adjacent village of Volendam, famous for its cheese. (Edammer cheese)
Fortunately, we can hold the cape in the panniers.
Edam is a town with many canals, neat house facades and a church tower, whose bells are attached on the outside of the tower. We are just passing it on the hour and hear the charming carillon.
We continue through the
Beemster. Once here was a lake to see on the straight roads and canals. That here, where we cycle, ships sailed 400 years ago is still hard to imagine but true. It is one of the first lakes which were drained in Holland.
On the right side of the dike runs a canal (ring canal) to almost the same level as the bike trail. Left, at least 5 meters deeper grazes cows and sheep on pastures. A pumping station at which we pass pumping around the clock the deeper water up into the ring channel, otherwise the country would flood again. Previously there were wind mills, now the pumps are electrically
The next town, de Rijp, must be slightly higher as the houses and bridges are of the Middle Ages.
The weather permits now a coffee break on a bench. This morning we left Volendam in the rain.
Via Akersloot we come to Castricum. In a park with several benches, we seek for, the bench standing in the shadows, as it was becoming warm.
I am very happy with the GPS, because to find a road in such a densely populated area is not easy.
We find our host family immediately, after a shower we are invited to coffee, tea and cakes. Mrs. Huisman, our hostess, baked a cake today specially for us.
It is a fantastic club, vrienden op de fiets. Members are mostly people who themselves cycle or have cycled in former times.

Lock in de Rijp

Clogs and buckets beautiful in line

Ring channel is higher than the grass land left

Trusting heron

"Pompgemaal Beemster" pumping station, pumps deeper water into the channel

De village Rijp between Beemster and Schermer, both drained land

Lock in de Rijp

Ferry at Akersloot

Saturday 13 August Heemskerk - Noordwijk
Km = 52.44 Total 322.84
(Ijmuiden, Haarlem, Vogelenzang, Noordwijk)

Ijmuiden blast furnace city

Ruin von Brederode

< Spire of the church in Heemskerk

Haarlem, Bavo church and beautifully decorated facades

House with a turret in the center of Haalem

< Tower with a carillon of Bavo Church in Haarlem

After a sumptuous breakfast we leave Heemskerk direction North Sea.
Where the North Sea Canal flows into the North Sea is called Ijmuiden. Large ships sail on the channel to Amsterdam.
Ijmuiden is known for its blast furnaces. From afar you can see drifts of smoke.
With the ferry we cross the river (free for cyclists) and reach the town of Ijmuiden, because the north side is the giant ground blast furnace area.
We are now cycling towards Haarlem, the capital of North Holland.
Our sister Marianne went to school here and knows the way around in this area.
In the center we have a view of the St. Bavo church and the statue of
Laurens Janszoon Coster, 1370 - 1440 Inventor of the printing press. (for the Dutch)
He lived in this restaurant, where we are now drinking coffee, as stated on the inscription of a brass plate.
The carillon plays a melody that reminds me of my youth. Again, the bells are attached on the outside of the tower.
After a while we leave Haarlem. The remaining 20 km to Noordwijk (where we grew up), we know well. Quite a lot has changed in the 50 years since we moved to Switzerland,
The reunion with our oldest sister, Ilse, is a highlight and it is clear that we will stay here a little longer.
Late in the afternoon is a flower parade on the Boulevard, the cars are decorated with pretty flowers, live music and dancing girls.
Marianne, who accompanied us for 5 days, will return home. This evening her daughter will take her back home by car.

Bennebroek

Noordwijk and the newly inaugurated village square "Jeroenskerk"

On the Boulevard is a flower parade

Dancing girls on decorated wagons,

even the military is present

Restaurants are now also on the beach

The Sailing Club of Noordwijk hasn't got a port

Sunday 14th August Rest day in Noordwijk.
On Sunday morning we visit a flower show in the old church.
That is a good opportunity to look inside. When I was in Noordwijk, it was always closed until now.
The afternoon is reserved for friends and family visit.

At the beach you can play around without getting dirty

In this old church is a flower show this afternoon

Monday 15 August Noordwijk - Maasland
Km = 84.33 Total 407.17
(Katwijk, Scheveningen, Hoek van Holland, Maassluis)

The dunes between Noordwijk and

Hoek van Holland. Whether touring rider

or racer, all have their joy

The "Oude Rijn" flows here in Katwijk underneath the road through the North Sea

Highway for cyclists, segregated bike path with a green median strip

We leave Noordwijk through the dunes to Katwijk. There, I take a photo of the mouth of the "Oude Rijn". From The Oberalppass up to here in Katwijk it bears the names Rhine. The actual main arm of the river gets another name at the border with Holland and flows to Rotterdam and Zeeland.
To Hoek van Holland, we cycle through the dunes, except through the cities of Wassenaar and Scheveningen. On the smooth asphalt roads it is great for pedestrians and cyclists. For the first time I see a bike lane who is comparable to a highway. The cycle path has two lanes, separated by a median strip of grass.
The dunes are densely covered with sea
buckthorn, a plant that in this season has red to yellow fruit. The fruits are vitamin C bombs, depending on the variety, it contains, 200 to 900 mg per 100 grams of berries, compared to lemons or oranges, which have only 50 mg.

The Pier at Scheveningen

They are as tame as the sparrows

Cycling through the dunes is a pleasure

At the end of the dunes starts

the greenhouse culture

The dunes are covered with sea buckthorn

The Pier at Hoek van Holland. Salt water fish is the motto

Sea shell and seaweed at the Pier

After the dunes the ground is fertile, a mixture of sand and clay. Here grow alongside flowers, fruits of all varieties. It's called the Westland between The Hague and Hoek van Holland. As far as the eye can see, we see glass, it is the largest greenhouse area in the Netherlands called, "De glazen Stad " (the glass city).
The pier at Hoek van Holland extends a few kilometers out into the sea. On both sides of the pier are fishermen. A unique opportunity to catch sea fish, for both sides is salt water. We walk to the end of the pier. (cycling not allowed). This area is called Europoort, and we see huge ships sailing to Rotterdam.
After 4 km. we come to the "Maeslantkering". It is a massive building and part of the Delta Project. 13 structures protect the south-west of Holland from flooding.
Along the New Waterway, that's the name of this river, a bike trail leads to Maassluis.
We take a break and then the GPS lead us to our accommodation address. After 10 Km. we face a magnificent converted farmhouse with a huge surrounding property.

A luxury liner on the way to the sea

Lighthouse at Hoek van Holland

This freight goes to Rotterdam

The "Maeslantkering" will protect the southwest of Holland against flooding

Maeslantkering seen from above (scanning)

Maassluis

Canal with a lot of duckweed in Maassluis

Tuesday 16 August Maasland - Noordwelle
Km = 75.63 Total 480.8
(Brielle, Oostvoorne, Rockanje, Haringvlietdam, Ouddorp Brouwersdam)

18 concrete poles must be driven 20 meters deep, in order to build a house with such a machine as on the right of the picture

Maassluis a pretty town with many canals and bridges

Maassluis, the boy throws the fish back because they do not taste good

The ferry runs straight towards us from Rozenburg

We are not the only cyclists who make a multi-day tour

Leaving our accommodation we return to the port of Maassluis. As ordered, the ferry comes straight from the other side of Rozeburg, over to us.
The first city is Brielle, our goal for this morning. It is an old town, surrounded by a star-shaped moat and city wall.
Through the "Kaaipoortje" we get into the city and cycle to the town hall square. A bronze statue of the former Queen Wilhelmina adorns the square.
Not far away is the Catharijnenkerk from 1462 It was originally conceived as a much larger church to see at the foundation. A recession was the reason that it became smaller than planned. The tower was never completed.
Via Oostvoorne and Rokanje we get to the second project of the delta, the 4.5 km long Haringvlietdam. The lock complex is 1 km, with 17 through openings. The construction of the Haringvliet lasted 14 years.
On the dam two cyclists are looking for a part of their broken chain. Fortunately, I've parts of chain and tools with me and soon the chain is patched.

Moat surrounded the town of Brielle

Moat surrounded the town of Brielle

Canals in Brielle

Parish hall with a statue of Wilhelmina (former queen) in the foreground and Catharijnechurch in the background >

After about 10 Km we get to the third project of the delta plan, the Brouwersdam.
The closure of the 6.5 km long and 30 meters deep waters is a rehearsal for the closure of the Oosterschelde, an even bigger project which we will visit tomorrow. Neeltje Jans is called the Information Center.
Our hostess on the island of Schouwen-Duivelland is an enterprising woman; she has guest rooms and in addition she runs a small campground.

So you stay on the correct route

In earlier times a locomotive drove to Oostvoorne. The bronze figure has thrown the old railway track over its shoulder

Left the road on the dike, then the bike trail, and deeper the channel

Water is ubiquitous in Zeeland

Prepared for cold days. Belgian horses

Not petite but still beautiful horse

Town square in Noordwelle

Haringvlietdam

Wednesday 17 August Noordwelle - Middelburg
Km = 41.29 Total 524.09
(Oosterscheldedam, Neeltje Jans Expo, Veersedam, Veere, Middelburg)

Even with no wind, like today, you can see which way the wind blows normally

Closed on Sundays, which is consistent. Zeeland is strictly Calvinist

Because ebb and flow takes place at the surface, it is not profitable energy

A pillar was built in reserve. It now serves as a climbing wall. With a rope sportsman slide back to the mainland

The finished work

< 66 such behemoths were built 30 to 40m high, depending on location with a weight of 18,000 t. (photo scan)

Our hostess said; so calm this morning is rare on the island.
The trees are all bent to one side, not difficult to imagine which direction the wind normally blows.
We have only 13 kilometers to get to
Neeltje Jans, an exhibition of the Deltaproject.
We spend the whole morning here and after we learned what is to be seen, we could stay here the whole day.
First we look at a film about the delta works and then make a tour by boat along the now finished work.
Because more than half of Holland is under sea level, it has implemented the delta works. A flood like in 1953 has to be avoided at all costs. The lowest town in the Netherlands is Nieuwer Kerk aan de Ijsel (east of Rotterdam) with 6.76 m. below sea level, Amsterdam 2 m.

Picnic in the dunes

Bike path through the dunes. You can find many e-mills in Zeeland, because the wind almost always blows

Beach grass, is one of the few plants that grow in the dunes. They have long roots and keep the dunes on its place.

In this way, a Dutch woman sitting on her bike

Oosterscheldedam

Initially they wanted to build a dam. That would have meant no more tides and the salt water would change in fresh water, with devastating consequences for the environment. Environmental awareness changed in the 70 years, and government decided to build a semi-open dam. A sluice with 65 huge pillars will close the Oosterschelde with rising flood waters. A pillar weighing 18,000 tons, and is 30 to 38 meters height. Click here to learn more about it.
In the afternoon we cycle through the dunes towards Veere. It seems that the summer is back.
Veere is worth a visit. Picturesque wooden houses, windmill, bell tower and at the Kaai houses with beautiful facades. Here we take a lunch break.
To Middelburg, our overnight spot, it is only 12 kilometers an equally beautiful medieval city, just a bit bigger than Veere.
Our hostess is already 81 but still young in spirit and agility. She has written two books of Dutch war children who were sent to recover to the Alpine countries. Her husband was active at the Red Cross. It was a very entertaining evening.

A wide beach on Noord-Beveland

The mowers are busy at work

Veere is worth a visit

Veere is behind the dike

An idyllic little road in Veere

Thursday 18 August Middelburg - Hoogerheide
Km = 88.01 Total 612.1
(Goes, chapel, Kruiningen, Krabbendijke, Bergen op Zoom, Hoogerheide)

City Hall in Middelburg showpiece late Gothic

Another type of bridge

< Lange Jan 90,5m.

Graanmarkt in Middelburg (cereals)

Oostkerk >

Because the windows go open to the outside or not at all, so you have to clean them from the outside

Ankerpoort or Blauwpoort

Click on image to read

Church fair Goes

Before we leave Middelburg we do a sightseeing tour to get to all the sights our hostess has recommended.
After 30 km we arrive in Goes, again a nice town to stroll through.
First, however, we make a coffee break at a pastry shop.
There is a lot of business in town, because a fair is being prepared.
Further to the east we have a strong head wind, east wind is very uncommon, but the electric motor makes up again with the wind.
In Kapelle it even begins to rain and we take no detours towards Bergen op Zoom, hoping the weather will be better.
In fact, after a while it stops raining and we can look at the city, go shopping and enjoy our coffee on a terrace.
Towards the evening the sky is getting darker, so we make our way to the overnight address.
Two more cyclists are staying overnight, and that gives a lot of conversation.

Rijn-Schelde-channel connection with Antwerp

The marketplace in Bergen op Zoom

Through the "Gevangenpoort" one comes to town

< Front of Gevangenenpoort in Bergen op Zoom

Middelburg Town Hall and "de Peperbus" right

Freitag 19. August Hoogerheide - Tilburg

Km. 80,36 = Total 692.46

( Essen = belgien, Zundert, Chaam, Gilze, Tilburg)

A small piece through Belgium

"de paddenstoel" only indicates the direction and Km.

At turn-offs are guide numbers

Typical house in Brabant

Church where the father of Vincent van Gogh was pastor ^

< Commemorative stone at the former home of Van Gogh

The wind has turned 180 degrees and the sun greets us early in the morning.
Last night I had written down all the numbers of our route so that cycling away from traffic on bike paths is very pleasant.
We go about 15 km through Belgium, and back in Dutch Brabant we reach the village Zundert.
Vincent van Gogh grew up in this village. (1853 - 1890 Auvers-sur-Oise)
Where once stood his birthplace, is now a museum. Vincent's father was a Protestant pastor in Zundert.
In the afternoon we visit the exhibition of Karel Appel in Zundert's museum. The exhibitions change from artist to artist who feels inspired by Vincent van Gogh.
The landscape has changed from meadows, cows and canals in Zeeland, to forests and heath in Brabant, even in some places hilly terrain.
Until Tilburg we cycle overland through forests and small villages.
Our host is a self-made man. The garden has various shrubs and trees, and with the fruits makes jam. A few years ago he cycled with his family (the youngest was 7 years old at that time) a bicycle tour along the Limes-Route and the Danube to Budapest.

Copy from the original picture of Van Gogh. Potatoes are replaced by chips.

Such roads, many cyclists wish

Here it goes slowly

Saturday 20 August Tilburg - Oss
Km = 79.77 Total 772.23
(Oisterwijk, Kampina = heathland, Boxtel, Schijndel, Heeswijk-Dinther Zevenbergen)

Corn mill in Brabant

Wonderful to ride through forest and heath

You should be sure to eat which one

Auch in Brabant gibt es Heide

Our host has made some suggestions for the best route to Oss.
Once on the "Knooppunt" route, the trail leads us through the heath of Kampina.
It is a pleasure to cycle through the forest and heath with almost no people and nice summer weather. I did not expect so much heather in Brabant.
In the town of Boxtel we have the first coffee break. The town is nothing unusual, rather a big village, but the coffee is still good.
The villages we pass through are not as nice as the historical ones in the north.
With such glorious summer weather we make a little more coffee and ice cream breaks.
At 5pm. we are back in Oss where we started our journey. I do preparatory work, such as to load the bikes into the car so we can start early Sunday morning driving back to Switzerland.

Picnic times

Farmhouse in Brabant

This road runs through the whole city of Oss. Cars are allowed but have no precedence. In some cities, I have seen such bike-roads >

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